Kraken Strengthen Roots by Drafting Local Players

Vince Carbonneau
July 9, 2024  (3:43 PM)

ollie josephson in action
Photo credit: Canadian Hockey League

Kraken Strengthen Community Ties with Local Draft Picks

Since their announcement as the 32nd NHL franchise in 2018, the Seattle Kraken have worked diligently to embed themselves in the Pacific Northwest. From community events to new TV deals, their efforts have focused on creating lasting bonds with local fans.
A significant part of this fan engagement stemmed from the WHL fanbases in the U.S. Division, who were instrumental in driving interest for the franchise. As a gesture of appreciation, the Kraken held their inaugural preseason games in Spokane, Everett, and Kent while Climate Pledge Arena was under construction. This decision to engage fans across multiple junior hockey venues helped strengthen their local ties.
The Kraken have shown a tendency to draft players with local connections, a strategy that seems to happen naturally but offers mutual benefits for the team and its supporters. This approach reinforces relationships within the community, especially with local WHL clubs and cities.
WHL-Heavy NHL Draft
In this year's NHL Draft, the Kraken selected Berkly Catton from the Spokane Chiefs as their No. 8 overall pick. Catton, a standout forward, led all WHL draft-eligible players in goals and points last season, thrilling Spokane fans.
Seattle continued this trend on Day 2, picking three more WHL forwards: Julius Miettinen from the Everett Silvertips, Clarke Caswell from Swift Current, and Ollie Josephson from Red Deer. The Kraken's four WHL picks were the most of any NHL team, emphasizing their local focus.
Adding to their local roster, last year's selections included Everett's Kaden Hammell, Tri-City's Lukas Dragicevic, and Tyson Jugnauth, who joined Portland midseason. This concentration of WHL talent makes it easier for the Kraken's player development staff to monitor and support their prospects.
Ron Francis, in his post-draft comments, highlighted the convenience of having players nearby and praised the WHL for its quality teams and players.
Is Staying Local a Good Strategy?
The local approach is appealing as it leverages familiarity and reduces scouting travel. It allows the Kraken to take a hands-on approach to development, as noted by prospects like Hammell and Jugnauth, who benefit from the team's proximity.
However, relying too heavily on local talent could limit the Kraken's talent pool. Despite this, the organization remains committed to thorough scouting and player development.
Fans Appreciate Local Talent
Local players help forge connections between the team and its fans. For example, Kailer Yamamoto, a Spokane native, was warmly received despite his short stint with the Kraken. His local ties resonated with fans, showing the value of hometown heroes.
Similarly, Oliver Bjorkstrand's background with the Portland Winterhawks has kept fans in Portland engaged with the team.
While drafting locally is not unique to the Kraken, their strategic emphasis on regional talent strengthens their community ties and fosters a loyal fan base.
Kraken Strengthen Roots by Drafting Local Players

Do you think the Seattle Kraken should continue focusing on drafting local WHL talent?

Yes2071.4 %
No828.6 %
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